Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 22:03:02 -0800
Sender: "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Jack Hamilton <jfh@STANFORDALUMNI.ORG>
Subject: Re: Future in SAS
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on 2/24/2006 8:00 PM Arthur Tabachneck said the following:
> I have to second Harry's observation. Too bad that Jim G. doesn't keep up
> with what is said on SAS-L. Or does he?
I've heard that digests of SAS-L are passed around inside SAS Institute.
I don't know who prepares them or what they contain, but I suspect
they're mostly technical in nature.
For pricing, I've always heard that going through sales is the way to
get your message heard. I don't know whether purchasing managers are
able/willing to send the message to SAS that the software costs too
much. And in a sense, it doesn't cost too much, because lots of
companies are renewing their licenses.
> Regardless, I really think he
> has to hear what Harry had relayed.
I'm sure he's heard it - whether he believes it is the question.
I have heard from several sources (not including my present employer,
where I am not at all in the purchasing loop) that pricing has gotten a
bit softer than it used to be.
> Many of us work in areas that can't rely on profit to justify cost (e.g.,
> not-for-profit organizations). In such areas, the SAS price tag is really
> absurd and that's with a combination of products that doesn't even include
> all of the tools which are REALLY needed (e.g., EM).
Yes, it's the cost of the add-on products that's really the killer. EM
seems to be particularly out of line. I'm not sure that the price of
SAS/Intrnet is way out of line with its competitors, though. And a
single-user SAS license, which costs thousands of dollars, does provide
a lot of computing power. A subscription to MSDN costs US$ 2500, not
as much as a SAS license but still a pretty good chunk of change.
> And, I would guess that the same dilemma exists well beyond the not-for-
> profits (e.g., QA), and that it will only be a matter of time until a
> company like Microsoft offers and wins with a reasonably priced (though
> maybe not quite as good) alternative.
People have been saying that for years, and it hasn't happened. SAS
Institute is very good at coming out with new products just when they're
needed. I'm convinced that ODS saved SAS's bacon - without it, a lot of
data and processing would have moved out of SAS into products that could
produce the kinds of output that people need. Now SAS needs to come
up with a procedure, or at least a reasonable mechanism, for creating
master/detail reports, or SAS will lose market share to Business Objects
and similar products (I heard at the last SUGI that there were proposed
features in ODS that would help, but I haven't heard anything since then).
You might think that the open source community would come up with a
solution, but they haven't so far. Open source software has a tendency
to be difficult for the uninitiated to use. One of the strengths of SAS
is that you can get correct results without having to learn a lot of
language details or programming details - something that's not true of R
or C or Perl, or even Python or VB.